Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 7
Twisted Shop Class » Limelight in the Limelight

Excite the atoms in a chunk of lime to make your own spotlight. Phones haven't had dials since the Reagan administration, but you still "dial" them. Clocks have been digital for a generation, but time still "ticks" away. And fame hasn't involved calcium oxide for over 100 years, but when you're famous, you're still "in the limelight."

Throughout much of the 19th century, gaslights lit theater stages, while limelights cast a concentrated beam of light on the star. The source of the glow was white-hot quicklime, or calcium oxide. Quicklime is much more corrosive than common garden lime-among other things, it's used for disintegrating dead bodies in disaster zones to prevent the spread of infection.

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